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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  December 25, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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♪ and good evening, once and good evening, once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 337 of the trump administration and the president's christmas vacation under way at mar-a-lago in west palm, where he successfully beat the traffic today. he's coming off a big legislative win, heading into his second year in office with midterm elections ahead, but the russia investigation, that traveled with him on vacation. we are now learning that investigators are now themselves focusing on some of the people closest to donald trump. today his personal assistant, and this is going back decades, rhona graff was questioned by staff from the house intelligence committee in an undisclosed location here in new york, not washington. this is a move democrats on the panel have objected to. they feel it should have been done in washington.
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mike memoli is the nbc news journalist who broke the news about rhona graff's questioning and he spoke with our own nichole wallace earlier today. >> anybody who has spoken with trump, has met with trump, has called trump has gone through her. and i think we know one of the subjects that they were certainly going to bring up, don jr. testified before the committee on december 6th. we know that rob goldstone, the publicist who arranged that infamous trump tower meeting, in the e-mails between him and don jr. setting that up there was a reference to rhona. because if you wanted to get the incriminating information about hillary clinton to donald trump it was through rhona. that had to be one of the areas they focused on today. also, we're learning new details about the house intelligence committee's interview with the now embattled fbi deputy director andrew mccabe who worked directly under james comey for a time. wednesday mccabe spent nearly eight hours with the intel committee, and the very same
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mike memoli of nbc news reports that, quote, "a source familiar with mccabe's testimony before the committee, told nbc news that mccabe confirmed that then fbi director james comey told him that trump had asked for a loyalty pledge from him." for those who need it, here's a reminder of what comey said about that during his testimony, this is back before the senate intelligence panel this past june. >> he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. my common sense told me, what's going on here is, he's looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job. >> and a new report out today indicates house intelligence may soon question two other key trump associates. bloomberg news is saying this, quote, "president trump's former chief strategist steve bannon and his former campaign manager cory lewandowski have been asked to testify to house lawmakers investigating russian
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interference in the 2016 election. both men were sent letters this week by the house intelligence committee, asking them to testify in early january, according to an official familiar with the panel's schedule. bloomberg goes on to add they have not yet responded to the house committee but that the invitation was not in the form of a subpoena to testify, rather it was for a voluntary interview. there's also news as we mentioned at the top of the broadcast about jared kushner. the president's son-in-law who's also a white house senior adviser. "the new york times" says, "federal prosecutors in brooklyn have sought bank records about entities associated with the family company of jared kushner, president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, according to four people briefed on the matter." there's no indication the subpoena is related to the mueller investigation, but we're going to talk about that timing in just a moment. also, the locale. so with that, let us turn to our leadoff panel on a friday night before christmas. robert costa, national political reporter for "the washington
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post." moderator of "washington week" on pbs and an msnbc political analyst. in short, a very busy man. matthew us in bam, white house reporter for politico. and nick ackerman is here with us, watergate special prosecutor. welcome to you all. i think, robert, i'd like to begin with rhona. underscore what we've already established, what you already heard about her importance in all things donald trump. >> she's a crucial person, brian. i've known rhona graff for years, as a reporter going up to trump tower. she was and has been for decades the gatekeeper for donald trump. on that 26th floor. she sits right outside of his office. she's so close with him personally as a friend. not so much an adviser politically, but as a confidant and totally trusted by the president and then candidate and businessman trump.
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>> the flip side of that is if you're an aggressive prosecutor and you're looking to hear who overheard what, were you on air force one, were you -- obviously she wasn't, but she could have been present at the creation of many a conversation. >> not only was she probably present at many conversations, but president trump does not use e-mail and he relied upon rhona graff for years to keep a record of e-mails that were coming in, letters that were coming in. she was what john kelly is now inside of the white house, the person who controls the paper flow, the person who controls the door. so documents matter as much as her recollections. >> nick, when someone is unable to travel to washington, i guess it's not unheard of that investigators would come to you and ask the questions they want to ask, wherever you happen to live. it strikes a lot of us as unusual that this was, in effect, a field investigation, a field hearing, field questioning of rhona graff in new york. why was that courtesy extended and not to other witnesses? >> i don't think we really know
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the answer to that. but i don't think it really makes a difference. because what we're looking at here, if we start from the basic premise, there was a crime committed. the crime was the hacking into the democratic national committee to steal e-mails. the only question here is whether or not anybody in the trump campaign conspired with the russians to release those e-mails. rhona graff is a key witness in this whole thing. i don't care where they interview her. they could interview her on the moon as far as i'm concerned. she has key information based on that e-mail that was sent on june 3rd by ron goldstone, who offered to provide information that would incriminate hillary clinton to rhona, to give to donald trump, but ron goldstone said maybe it's better i bring it in person. it's pretty obvious to me that we know back in april of 2016, that the trump campaign knew that there were these stolen e-mails from the dnc.
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and it's also pretty obvious that one could assume that what was being transported to the trump campaign at that point in time were these stolen e-mails. and that the person who would have received that, or who ron goldstone offered to provide them to was rhona. she would be number one on my list. i don't care where she is. i'd be ready to talk to her. >> just a point of personal privilege here. >> does it ever strike you, the irony that you just mentioned a break-in at the democratic national committee? you're talking about electronic -- >> that's right. >> but a break-in nonetheless. >> that's right. this is a high-tech break-in, just like happened in june of 1972 -- in may of 1972. >> unbelievable. >> it is the exact same thing. except in this situation they were able to take lots more documents, nobody was there to check the tape on the door or catch any of the burglars, and it wasn't until after the fact that we actually learned that the burglars were russian.
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and that there was a plot to take those e-mails and use them to throw the election to donald trump. >> well put. matthew, about mr. comey, comey's name is back in this because of mr. mccabe, the former number two at fbi. in many areas of law, it matters after something happens to you, that you come home and mention it to friend or family, contemporaneously, right in the moment. and i guess the comey corroboration is the headline from mccabe's hours and hours of testimony, correct? >> i think that's right. not that many of us doubted mr. comey to begin with, with his memos written contemporaneously, but to have andrew mccabe backing that up. and that instance of trump asking for loyalty is so in-character. we now know from "the washington post" reporting that he had concerns about gorsuch not being loyal enough. we know donald trump values
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loyalty above all else. but i'd keep in mind the messenger here, andrew mccabe, he's become something of a punching bag for republicans, especially republicans in the house who are trying to muddy the waters, allege bias at the fbi. they've really taken aim at mccabe and tried to make him a toxic figure. which i'm not sure if that will impact sort of the import of him corroborating mr. comey's story. >> and mr. costa, as is our role with you so often, first of all, if it was up to us, you'd be chained right here and you'd get rid of those other jobs for the "post" and pbs. but what can investigators learn remind us, from messrs. lewandowski and bannon? >> you have to remember, there are many tracks right now. there's the congressional tracks. what they're really trying to do is bring in the key figures and paint a broader picture of what happened inside of the campaign. lewandowski was part of the
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initial recruitment of some of these foreign policy advisers. that's when carter page and other people like him come into the campaign circle. and bannon, he has avoided scrutiny on a lot of this russia probe so far. but he was the ceo of the trump campaign in its closing months, a close associate of the candidate. and they're going to want to know on capitol hill, what did he know. but what's really more important is what does robert mueller want to know from all these figures. because the congressional investigations can only go so far. they help us learn more, but they don't come forward with indictments in the way that mueller could. >> and you agree with my iceberg theory of the mueller investigation, that at any given time no more than 5% or 10% of it is visible to folks like us. >> i've staked out the mueller investigation. i've seen cars come into that garage in southwest washington. we do not know what's happening with it. that's why the congressional investigations are helpful. they're not isolated. they're not islands.
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we can only follow the congressional investigations and when they talk to people like rhona graff or bannon or lewandowski. >> we went through a story at the top of the broadcast, and for the friday night before christmas i've got a legal pad full of news here. why would feds based in brooklyn be snooping around jared kushner's finances? >> because there are lots of crimes to investigate here. and there are crimes that relate to what occurred here in new york city with respect to possibly 666 fifth avenue, a building that's owned by the kushners. it's under water right now. there are lots of other deals they've engaged in, that relates to bringing in foreigners as investors into the eastern district of new york and the southern district of new york. i think there are lots of potential crimes to be investigated, and there's no reason why it's only going to be mueller's investigative team. i mean, even during the
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watergate case, there was a separate case that was tried against the former attorney general mitchell right here in the southern district of new york. >> so if you think wrongdoing was committed, it's to your advantage to spread or hope that other localities bring their own charges? >> oh, i think that's right. i think mueller's also relying on state authorities too -- >> yeah. >> -- as a backup in case there are pardons. i think that some of the crimes that are being investigated are being investigated by the new york state attorney general. some of the criminal matters and the crimes involved are probably better than some of the federal crimes that are out there. >> you see now, matthew, you hear the counselor here put it that way, that's why so many people are perspiring. and i've heard it said that the kinetic atmosphere in the air of the west wing changed so markedly, so appreciably, when flynn flipped, that that was a big jaime in the anxiety thermostat.
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and i am guessing the west wing this president just vacated for 11 days away is just as filled with anxiety. >> that's right. at this point, there's sort of a lot of whispering and waiting and wondering who's next. and i think it's going to be interesting to see what happens on new year's day when the president and the white house have predicted, you know, this mueller investigation will be over, he'll be exonerated by the new year. people in the white house, people outside the white house, legal observers know that's not true. so when 2018 rolls around and bob mueller is still investigating and we have some trials coming up, it will be interesting to see how the president reacts to the prospect of having this investigation that so clouded year one of his presidency continue right on into year two. >> robert, washington is famous for eating its own young. matthew mentioned the toxicity around mr. mccabe at the fbi.
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the new head of the fbi, mr. wray, is trying to swim in his lane. he's got a president who's described the fbi as being in tatters. not the way you want to start a new job. what's the chance that mr. mccabe could be a sacrificial lamb toward something of a fresh start? >> certainly a possibility that the president decides to make changes at the justice department. because so many people within the west wing, they tell me privately that if he doesn't get the letter, that exoneration letter that he's been hoping for, the president could erupt. he has a lot of echoes now on capitol hill, among republicans on the right-wing of the republican party, on some conservative news outlets, who are saying, if you go after the fbi or shake up the justice department, we'll stick with you and we'll fight that fight in 2018. because they're already being told, and the president was briefed on this, this week, you could face a wave in 2018 with the democrats coming in, and their main target would be your impeachment early in 2019 if you lose the house.
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so amid that whole atmosphere, that's why you see this new clamor, an increased clamor on the right to fight against the fbi and the justice department and diminish their credibility. >> as we said, more news than we should have on a friday evening, but thanks to our leadoff panel, matthew nussbaum, nick akerrman, robert costa. very much appreciate it. we learned a lot. coming up after our first break, president trump signs the tax bill, heads to florida for 11 days at mar-a-lago. notably, his tenth visit as president. but in that city he left behind, back in washington, the city that does, in fact, eat its own young, there are warning signs. robert just talked about them. we'll get to more of those when we continue.
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>> and then when i watch the news, as you know, we had the largest tax cuts in our history just approved, and i was going to wait for a formal signing sometime in early january, but then i watched the news this morning and they were all saying, will he keep his promise, will he sign it by christmas. and i called downstairs, i said, get it ready, we have to sign it now. >> couple of things here, not the largest tax cuts in history. but notably, president trump, who remember, wants us to know that he doesn't watch that much television, he's also busy with documents, explaining his last-minute decision today to sign the crowning achievement of his presidency so far. shortly thereafter he departed the white house for his golf resort, mar-a-lago, in florida, for the holidays, his tenth visit there to that trump
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property as president. he's continuing his kind of tax cut victory lap while bemoaning the media's assessment of his success. >> our country's doing very well. we've tremendously cut regulations. legislative approvals for which i'm given no credit in the mainstream media. we have i believe it's 88, which is number one in the history of our country. second now is harry truman. >> per an nbc news count, just in recent history, presidents bill clinton, george w. bush and barack obama have actually all signed more bills by now than has president trump. meanwhile, new reporting today offering further evidence the republican party will likely face a tough sled in the new year. politico is reporting trump aides have openly expressed concern over the midterm elections and that the head of the republican national committee threw up a red flag that the president is suffering
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especially of late with women voters. quote, "the warning, several people close to the chairwoman said, reflected deepening anxiety that a full-throated trump endorsement of accused child molester roy moore in the special election which the president was edging closer to at the time would further damage the party's standing with women." it goes on to say, quote, "the backstage talks provide a window into how those closest to trump are bracing for a possible bloodbath in the 2018 midterms, which could obliterate the republican congressional majorities and paralyze the president's legislative agenda." with us to talk about it all, jonathan allen, nbc news national political reporter. he's co-author of "shattered," the book about the hillary clinton campaign. diane superville is with us, white house reporter for -- darlene. i'm sorry. i'm going too fast. darlene superville is with us, white house reporter for the associated press. and as you've no doubt noticed by now, we've haranged robert costa into stick around for more
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of our conversation. darlene, talk about behind the scenes what you've been able to gather, even if it's through the air. there's anxiety about 2018, but also the tax bill, there's actual worry that it's not going to deliver to the folks to whom it was promised. >> that's right. and part of that is because the tax cuts, the cuts for individuals, middle-class families in the bill, are a lot smaller than what the bill gives to corporations and wealthy americans. so a big question going into next year is, just how much of a tax cut, how much more money people will see in their paychecks next year, as it gets closer to election, to the election. and whether they feel like they're actually benefitting from the bill. so that's one big issue that's going to go into the 2018 cycle. >> darlene, we also heard the president musing aloud again today. more than once he said, maybe we should have started with infrastructure. infrastructure is on the edge of the national conversation right
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now, because you've got hartsfield airport just lost a weekend to a power outage because of a fire. you've got this terrible train accident in the pacific northwest. again, kind of aging infrastructure. the problem is, you need votes from both parties for something big. >> that's right. and the president tweeted earlier today about infrastructure and how that issue may be one that he can get some democratic being buy-in for. anyone who's been around washington as long as i've been and who's watched washington as long as you have, you've heard lawmakers say time and time again, that there are no democratic potholes and there are no republican potholes. potholes belong to everyone. so given that sentiment, there's a belief that infrastructure spending is something that both sides can come together on. but it remains to be seen at this point given how toxic things were this year. >> robert, you've been around senator mcconnell a lot.
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we are not used to seeing senator mcconnell as a kind of hunted figure by the bannon wing of the party. i'm going to play what he said about steve bannon today. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> do you blame steve bannon for doug jones being elected in alabama? >> well, let me just say this, the political genius on display, throwing away a seat in the reddest state in america, is hard to ignore. >> strong words in his way of speaking. for him, that was a strong statement. >> soft-spoken but with a razor's edge, to be sure. this is a proxy war. alabama was a proxy war between mcconnell and bannon. who's going to control the party, the establishment, the leadership in washington, or steve bannon, this outside agitator, who truly wants to lurch the republican party in a more populist direction. this fight's not over.
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bannon will still be behind some challenges to republican incumbents in 2018. he's not going to walk away from the playing field. but mcconnell needs to say this sort of thing because he needs to hobble bannon's political capital. he doesn't want bannon parading around the republican party as a power player. he needs to be diminished in the eyes of mcconnell's allies, in order for mcconnell to control the party and lead the party in 2018 and perhaps beyond. >> jonathan, there's a report in politico backed up by folks who are in the orbit of mcconnell that he's worried about losing both houses in 2018. talk about the nervousness, the multi-level nervousness within the gop. >> there's a lot of nervousness, brian, and it goes beyond normally what you would see in the first midterm of a president's tenure, which typically, they're going to lose seats in congress. you've got a president whose approval rating has been hovering around 40% and is essentially intractable.
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there's nothing he can do that seems to raise it or lower it more than a few points. so that's a problem. in addition to that, when darlene was just talking about the tax cuts, if you look at the places where people are upset about the tax cuts because they're losing deductions for state and local taxes, you're talking about new york, new jersey, california, pennsylvania, virginia. you add up all the competitive congressional districts in those states and suddenly you goat about two dozen, which is what the democrats need to take the house. the republicans shouldn't have a problem in the senate because there's so many more democratic seats up and they're still fearful because the environment is that bad. >> another issue buried in there is kind of pay stub shock. you've heard of sticker shock. folks have now been told, urged, look at your paychecks, you'll see this come through. if that doesn't in a meaningful way, boy, do they like taking that out at the polls. >> yeah, absolutely. if people don't look at this tax cut as something that really helps them permanently, they could certainly forget about it quickly. you saw in 2010, the democrats
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were essentially handing out checks under president obama for all sorts of things, cash for clunkers, the stimulus bill was a lot of cash infused into the system. that did not stop his party from getting massacred at the polls. >> i want to thank our guests. again, friday night before christmas, so much news we're tossing some over the side. robert costa, darlene superville, jonathan allen, our great thanks for being with us tonight. as we go to a break, perhaps because our eyes are so often skyward looking for a sleigh this time of year, folks in california and nevada and arizona saw quite a sight tonight. it's all over social media. thankfully nothing sinister. it was the launch of a spacex falcon rocket from vandenburg air force base. it's just that when you don't tell everyone to expect it, people might think we're under attack. all of this talk about fire and fury, it kind of looked like
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both. elon musk joked about it on twitter. of course because it's his rocket he can joke. "nuclear alien ufo from north korea." again, luckily this time it was a friendly. we're back with more right after this.
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this is something that republicans wanted for years and democrats wanted for years and yet it never got done. who would object to trillions of dollars being brought back into our country? nobody.
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but it never got done. now it's being done. and the bottom line is, this is the biggest tax cuts and reform in the history of our country. this is bigger than actually president reagan's many years ago. i'm very honored by it. >> couple of facts wrong there, but more on that in a moment. the president speaking from notes today and we're going to talk about our current politics. i think there's probably a rule against having more than one pulitzer prize recipient in the same studio. so luckily we've split up our next two guests. peggy noonan is here with us, a pulitzer prize-winning columnist for the "wall street journal," former speechwriter for president ronald reagan. fortunate to say, also an msnbc political analyst. that gentleman on the right, pulitzer prize winner, author, historian, presidential historian, john meachem. we're proud to say also an msnbc contributor. so thankfully, we're within the pulitzer law. ms. noonan, your column, which i
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always read with great interest. i'll read you your headline, subheadline, and ask you to expand. "this tax bill may do some good," says the headline. ah, but the subheadline says, "but a dignified celebration would have been better than the embarrassing white house rally." >> yeah. yeah, that -- i just found the rally in which the president was surrounded by people whose attitude towards him seemed not collegial and not even "we're happy we did a good thing for the country," but more a little cringe-inducing, a little obsequious, i thought that was unfortunate. my view on the tax bill itself however is the way to judge it is is this going to make this -- things in america right now a little bit better or a little bit worse? you don't have to do all this this is the greatest thing since
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calvin coolidge's cuts and this is the worst thing in the world. might it make things a little better or a little worse? i'm glad they gambled on the idea that it might make things a little better. >> there's a possibility that the little worse is buried past the midterm? >> oh, god, i think so. this is a highly political document. i think politics once again has broken out in washington. here's a funny thing. if this bill yields rewards for a lot of people -- and i don't mean huge rewards. for some people it will be very big, for some people it won't. some people will get clobbered. but if this bill produces or can
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be traceable by people, if they get the impression that it contributes to economic expansion, economic growth, or if the tax bill plus deregulation has done this, it might be the big thing the republicans have going for them in 2018. i think they put a big bet on this bill. >> that would make a lot of republicans very happy. a lot of them office holders. to pulitzer prize winner number two, mr. meachem joining us from the great state of tennessee. john, the president's approval rating could use a charge from a car battery right about now. it's been theorized what could improve it, what could drop it further. what do you make of it? where do you place it in history? >> well, he's the lowest, i think, in the history of modern polling. president reagan at the end of a first year, president reagan was at 49%. almost half the country. george h.w. bush was way up, partly because of the panama military action. even president clinton and
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president obama, who had difficult first years because of various circumstances, both of their own making and some inherited, were higher than where president trump is. to my mind, the big question for 2018 is going to be, can the president reach beyond his own tribe? i think he's governed for that 35 to 40% throughout the year. and the great presidents, the ones who have made transformative change, the ones we remember fondly, the ones who trip off the tongue when we think about comparing things back and forth, are those who actually invited other people into the campfire to sit there. and the president so far has shown very little inclination to do that. the other question i have, in terms of going to the midterms, to go to peggy's point, is to what extent will the political marketplace, which discounts
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everything -- political memories are incredibly short. martin luther king once said, "we live in a ten-day nation. no one focusing on anything more than ten days." >> that was before twitter. that's an eternity now. >> exactly. now the establishment republicans have gotten the tax bill, they've gotten the supreme court justice, they're getting the federal judges, will they stand with him in his erratic day-to-day behavior if there aren't big policy issues coming to them beyond where we are right now? >> peggy, why does a guy like steve bannon say to a magazine like "vanity fair" that he puts the chance of the president finishing his term at around 30%? >> did he say that? >> he did say that. >> oh, my gosh. why would he do that? gee, i don't know. he's said a number of things over the past year, year and a half that are surprising and startling. one of the things -- one of the
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points john makes, i happen to think that it's a case of a kind of political malpractice that the president, mr. trump, hasn't, in this current environment of a good economy, having had some real achievements in terms of the court, i would argue regulation, the tax bill now, finally a piece of big legislation, the fact that he has not been able to, i think he wants to, but he's not been able to reach beyond his core support, which bubbles at 35 to 40. >> how about in the inaugural address, for those who didn't vote for me? >> yeah, but i don't think it really was the inaugural address that was a problem. his numbers weren't so bad then. it is the constant daily barrage of his crazy. i mean, of his tweets, his claims, his attacks, even on his own allies.
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he is a kind of destabilizing daily cultural presence, and i think that inhibits him and keeps him from growing in terms of his popularity. he seems not to be inviting people in. i think he'd like to be inviting people in, but he gets in the way of the success of that endeavor. >> we're going to take a quick break. both of our guests have agreed to stick around. an assessment of 2017, the year in trump, right after this.
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two very patient pulitzer recipients remain with us. before we continue with both of them, we have a look back at the 12 months of trump, as prepared and commissioned by the producers of "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace. >> this american carnage stops right here and stops right now.
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♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with. ♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ ♪ but if you try sometimes >> wiretap covers a lot of different things. i think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks. >> we've just launched 59 missiles, heading to iraq. >> headed to syria? ♪ to the demonstration >> when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. ♪ frustration >> i was elected to represent the citizens of pittsburgh, not paris. >> i saw him at a cocktail
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party, and it was very sad, because the hottest people in new york were at this party. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides. on many sides. >> i like real news, not fake news. you're fake news. >> wouldn't you love to see one of these nfl owners when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired, he's fired! >> puerto rico. >> we love puerto rico. >> traditional way if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. >> we don't need a liberal
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person in there, a democrat. >> mr. president, is an accused child molester better than a democrat? is an accused -- >> well, he denies it. look, he denies it. ♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ >> although we have a representative in congress who they say was here a long time ago. they call her pocahontas. >> well, it's a shame what's happened with the fbi, but we're going to rebuild the fbi. it will be bigger and better than ever. ♪ you get what you need >> complete with the song he still plays at every rally. when he's done. "you can't always get what you want ♪ that was recorded at one of his rallies. peggy noonan, jon meacham. still with us. each of our contestants has been given 60 seconds to sum up what we just witnessed. jon, here's the question, what's been lost by donald trump taking the presidency, and has anything been gained in your view?
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>> i think what's been lost is a instinctive reverence for what happens at the center of power. and people can attack that for being sentimental or romantic. but peggy wrote some words for president reagan that will live forever. all the pilgrims from all the lost places hurtling through the darkness towards home. that was president reagan's farewell address that peggy wrote. hard to imagine those words being spoken by this president and hard to imagine that he can appeal to our better angels, which i think to some extent is certainly one of the one or two most critical tasks that a president has to undertake. which is how does he call upon us to follow our hopes, as opposed to caving in to our fears. >> peggy noonan, jon's been accused of being a romantic. your turn. >> oh, i don't think so. look, there has been -- i think all of us have lived through a leveling in america, a lowering
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of standards in various ways, entertainment, news, et cetera, politics very certainly. i don't think donald trump brought this about. i think he is an emanation of it, or a reflection of it. it's something that he made very obvious when he came forward. look, those tapes are his problem. he has -- i just wrote down these words. he has been in his first year, in his presentation of the presidency, his presentation of himself, something new. i mean new on a daily basis, bombastic, grudge-holding, immature as a president, a person who has bad judgment. it is completely true. i believe it's completely fair to say, as we sum up the year, that he has had some real achievements but it has come at a cost and he is part of the cost.
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i mean, he just acts in a way that does not leave us with shining eyes as we look at our children and say, you can be like that someday. >> wish we could offer a better, happier assessment. we'll have to just offer our thanks to peggy noonan, jon meacham. thank you both so very much. we're back with more right after this. it's time for sleep number's 'lowest
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as you may have heard, we are proud of pointing out every chance we get to work inside 30 rockefeller plaza. and this time of year of course it's famous for the tree we keep out back. the tradition dates back to the workers who built the place during the depression. they pooled their money, bought a tree, decorated it with cranberries, paper garland and the occasional tin can. and the tree has come a long way since then. inside this building in our newsroom just about 100 yards off the rink, we deal with serious stuff including tragedy way too often and the daily task
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of covering politics and this presidency. as we said, serious stuff. but then our concentration, as we sit there, is broken by a sound. it's very specific. it involves people cheering. and it grows to the entire crowd. and when we hear that sound away to the window we fly like a flash because we know that particular noise means only one thing. somebody just got engaged. this time of year it happens every few minutes out there. some folks just ad-lib it and propose right there on the plaza. others are more clandestine. plepzs on the ice are scheduled and worked out in advance. mostly but not always by nervous young men. using a tactic that we won't reveal, the other skaters seem to melt away, leaving one couple. and then the question to be popped. and for a fee, because this is new york after all, video to be
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shot and photos taken. on this fancy patch of ice and these days before christmas taking a knee has nothing to do with politics here and everything to do with two lives that are about to change forever and perhaps bring even more lives into the world with them. they will always remember where they were, just the sound of it is impossible for us to forget. and in these days of so much darkness in our news, so much tumult in our public life, what happens out back is proof that, to quote a great work, love actually is all around. and we're back with more right after this.
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last thing before we go here tonight, i'll get to why in just a second but i want to show you the way "saturday night live" ended their show last weekend. while lenny pickett and the saturday night band played on in the studio, the cast went outside and went skating on that rink we keep out back while they rolled the credits at the end of the show. at "snl" they do credits real good. and while we don't have a band or skates or control of the rink for that matter, we do have credits. so if you enjoy this broadcast, please take 90 seconds and watch all these names. our family here on the late shift, the people who produce this hour every weeknight, along with our expert guests,
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including the journalists who are writing and recording the history of our times every day, here are the folks who make this go every night. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ i wish that i could walk you
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home ♪ ♪ all the lights are coming on now ♪ ♪ >> trust me, they are the very best and accompanied tonight by the music of the raveonettes. and so that is our broadcast for tonight and for this week. thank you so very much for being here with us tonight and every night, or so we hope. from nbc news headquarters in new york, happy holidays, merry christmas to all and to all a good night. ♪ tonight on "all in" --
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>> you are fake news. >> the media, demonized. >> what they're doing is the fake news. >> the public lied to. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period! post, they've got 30 sources. >> it was also the greerts challenge. >> just posted by the "washington post," they've >> breaking news, health secretary tom price is out. >> and the recentless reporting it took to break them. the uncovered secrets that sparked a reckoning. >> allegations of sexual misconduct spanning decades. >> 2017, the battle over truth itself. >> why should americans trust you when you are providing information. >> i was given that information. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. at the very start of the trump administration on day one, sean spicer made clear what posture the white house would take toward the press. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. both in person and around the


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